Colorado High Altitude Overnight Training Ride

In early July, the 10th Mountain Division backcountry huts are available for summer use. I typically Nordic ski to at least one hut during the winter. Most of the 10th Mountain Huts are located at around 11,000 feet or higher and may involve up to a 10-mile ski with climbing skins. The Eiseman Hut is one of those huts that involves a long and steep ascent, both in winter and summer. I planned on reaching the hut after about 2 hours of uphill bicycling, but due to very bad directions from a passing 4×4 jeep, my jaunt stretched to 20-miles and nearly 4 hours of truly exceptional climbing. Rule number one to backcountry travel–always carry a map!  My map was true, the directions from the humans were not.


The hut can sleep a large group of people. I ended up having the place completely to my self. That was fine–except at around 2 AM I kept waking up and thinking someone was walking around the hut–but the noise was due to the wind blowing stuff around on the roof and wooden deck.

I used the route as a high altitude training ride in preparation for a strenuous 100+ mile self-supported multi-day bikepacking trip to the Utah desert. But who am I kidding, I’ve never gone on a bike packing trip that did not involve suffering of some kind. I think that is part of the appeal of this sport–going to way out there places that simply are hard to reach.

A power breakfast of oatmeal, dried blueberries, and almond milk. On a separate note, even in the middle of summer, the mountains can be cold at night, especially at high elevation. It was 40 degrees at 6:30 in the morning in mid-July.

My trusty steed to backcountry travel
Always carry a map (and compass) in the backcountry. I would have never found the hut with the myriad of crisscrossed fire roads and absence of forest service signs. Note the small blue diamond on the tree in the background–this is used to mark the winter access trail. Until the next adventure…